Part of me thinks that because I’m not currently a target of this, it’s not my fight to fight. But I can’t promise to be a size 0 forever, and I want to know that as I age and have children she will continue to love and accept me as much as she does now. Is this something I need to address now? Or never, if this is something a child can address but a daughter-in-law can’t? My husband-to-be has his own scars from growing up in this environment (men are not exempt) but his opinion is that if I gain weight and she starts making nasty comments about it, so be it- I’m marrying him, not her. I would hate to lose the warm relationship I have with her over a potential future 15 pounds, but I’m also a person who thinks that no one should be judged for the size or shape of their body. — Not Exempt Forever
It’s unfortunate that your future MIL has this character flaw and that you have the reasonable fear that it may affect your future relationship with her should you ever become the subject of her criticism. It’s understandable that you would not only want to nip any future tension in the bud now but also challenge your MIL’s hurtful views; however, I think you’re right that this has potential to affect the warm relationship you currently enjoy with her. Your husband is giving you indirect advice to stay quiet, based on his own personal experience with his mother. You also have the indirect guidance of his two sisters, both of whom are currently subject to their mother’s judgment. Their response to their mother should inform your own response. If they are mostly ignoring her and shrugging her off, then this might be the best course of action for you one day if you’re in their boat.
Since you aren’t currently in their boat because you have a body type your future MIL approves of, you can gently guide her away from her disparaging comments about others with responses that theoretically end the conversation. You can respond with, “I don’t think someone’s body type is reflective of their character or values and shouldn’t be up for discussion.” Or, “Their bodies are really none of my business.” Or, even, “I celebrate diversity of all kinds, including body types.” Or, even: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way they look.”
As you transition into the role of daughter-in-law, it’s going to be important to pick your battles as you navigate this relationship for the years to come. I wouldn’t start with a battle right off the bat, especially when it doesn’t directly concern you at the moment and the people it does directly concern either don’t know what your MIL is saying about them (and may not even care!) or have been dealing with her comments all their lives and have developed their own coping mechanisms already (like ignoring her, probably). If you get along with your fiancé’s sisters, focus on fostering strong relationships with them so that you are better positioned to have them as allies in the family should you ever need them to fill that role for you. You don’t need to be their defender or protecter in order to foster a strong relationship – they’ve been managing fine without you for long enough. Just be their friend, and they may share insight with you that can be a valuable tool in dealing with your MIL moving forward.
When my boyfriend and I got back together, I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want him to lose his friendship and I didn’t want to lose him. Well, he found out about it earlier this year and it turned into an episode of friends where Ross and Rachel talk about the break. So now he and I are officially on break because he wants to process the situation, and he keeps saying I cheated. I understand that he wants to process it and that each break has its own rules. During the current break he’s actually communicating more, which is fantastic. However, he just told me he still thinks about it on some days and on other days he doesn’t. I don’t want to lose the relationship we have. How do I handle the situation? I don’t want to go ghost-mode like a lot of people say to do because he is sensitive. How do I help him process this and see that we can make it through this? — We Were on Break
I’m not sure you can make it through this. You’ve had six years to make your relationship work and it still doesn’t. Here you are on your third break, months after your boyfriend starting processing the idea of your sleeping with his friend. I think in this case, “I need time to process” is code for “I’mma keep you on the back burner while I explore some other options.” And he gets to make all the rules, huh? He decides when you take breaks, when they become breakups, and what goes or doesn’t go during the breaks. And you manage all of this by getting upset, drinking a lot, and making bad sex choices.
I’m wondering: Are you addicted to the drama, maybe? Staying for six years in a dysfunctional relationship in which the only control you get to have is, arguably, revenge sex is a great way to keep the drama alive. And if you thrive on drama, then drinking through your breakups and getting back with someone without any resolution to the problems that forced you apart in the first place is also a good way to keep the drama going. Here’s the thing though: life is better without the drama.
I know addictions are hard to overcome. It’s why they’re called addictions. But there’s support for you. There’s therapy, your friend support system, and perhaps AA if you feel your drinking crosses the line.